Pininfarina is boosting its presence in China further as it has just finalised an agreement with a regional government agency to open a new Product Development Centre in Shanghai which will help to boost local engineering Research & Development for the roster of Chinese carmakers that the Italian designer works with. As well as this strategy two preliminary agreements, that were signed a few days ago by the company's CEO Silvio Pietro Angori, cover future collaborations with Tsinghua University of Beijing and Tong Ji University of Shanghai.

“Pininfarina was the first Italian company to provide styling and engineering services to Chinese carmakers, back in 1996,” commented Angori. “We have been in China for over a decade now, with an office in Beijing that opened in the Nineties, and our presence has contributed to the development of highly successful models on the world’s largest car market. The three agreements signed in the last few days are proof of our company’s capacity to penetrate the Chinese market, where business will increase further in the coming years, in the fields of styling, engineering and ecomobility.”

The first of the three agreements regards Shanghai International AutoCity Development (SIAD), the government agency with which Pininfarina is committed to establishing a Product Development Centre in the region of Shanghai, with the goal of localising some of its engineering activities for Chinese automotive OEMs. SIAD will support Pininfarina during the start-up of the new Centre and in its relations with the authorities, with customers and with suppliers. Also in Shanghai, Pininfarina has outlined a preliminary agreement with Tong Ji University regarding joint personnel training activities and research in fields that range from vehicle design architecture to the virtual and physical validation of prototypes.

A third agreement has been signed with the Department of Industrial Design of Tsinghua University in Beijing and regards collaboration, for an initial period of 3 years, in design activities to strengthen teaching and industrial input, student training, applied research and specific projects that will simplify academic exchanges between the Pininfarina Design and Engineering Centre in Cambiano (Turin) and the University’s main campus. They will include applied design projects, work experience and training programmes, joint conferences, workshops and joint degree projects.

Since 1996, Pininfarina has extended the scope of its activities on the Chinese market, developing projects with a number of manufacturers: AviChina (Hafei), Chery, Changfeng, Brilliance and JAC. At the 2010 Beijing Motor Show there were seven premium car models on display that were designed and engineered for the Chinese clients Brilliance, JAC and Chery. Among them, the restyled Brilliance Junjie, designed and engineered by Pininfarina, made its world debut in saloon and station wagon versions, based on the previous versions also designed by Pininfarina, allowing Brilliance to establish itself as a premium brand. Other models recently introduced on the market by Pininfarina’s important Chinese clients included two and three-box versions of the Chery A3 and two models for JAC (Anhui Jianghaui Automobile Co. Ltd.): the B-MPV people-mover and the B-Class saloon, which won awards such as the “2009 China’s Annual Best Medium-Size Car" and the Annual Expectation Auto Model. The 3-box A108 (Tojoy) saloon was also designed and developed for JAC, whom Pininfarina has been working with since 2005; this highly successful model was the first Chinese car to win the prestigious China New-vehicle APEAL (Automotive, Performance, Execution and Layout) Segment Award assigned by J.D. Power (Asia Pacific).

© 2010 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed